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What happens when we designate a conservation area

When we designate a conservation area it means that extra planning controls will apply to that area.  This means we can better protect and recognise the features that contribute towards its special character or appearance and guard against inappropriate work.

Some of the extra controls applicable in conservation areas include:

Preservation and enhancement – we have a duty to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area. We mainly do this through the planning application process by requiring good design and managed change.  However, we also encourage residents and local bodies carry out repairs and maintain properties, trees and public spaces.

Minor works may need planning permission in a conservation area – these changes are outlined in the General Permitted Development Order. If you have any questions about restrictions on permitted development please visit the Planning pages of our website or speak to a member of our Planning team.

Control over demolition – you need planning permission in order to carry out a substantial or total demolition of certain buildings exceeding 115 cubic metres. There are some exceptions though, so please get in touch with us first.  Application forms to request permission are available by contacting the planning team (contact details below).

Control over trees – trees are given special protection.  You must apply in writing for consent if you intend to top, lop, or fell a tree over 75mm (3 inches) in diameter, measured at 1.5 metres above ground. You must submit your notification at least six weeks before you intend to start work – we will then be able to approve your application or serve a Tree Preservation Order meaning you will need further permission before you can carry out any work. Certain trees are exempt from this additional control, such as dead, dying or dangerous trees and some fruit trees. For more information on tree work applications, please call 01235 422600.

Biodiversity – conservation areas are often notable for their biodiversity value. Protected species and habitats need to be addressed when reviewing buildings, sites and planning works.

Power to seek repair of unoccupied buildings in conservation areas – if it appears that the preservation of a building is important for maintaining the character or appearance of that area then we can serve an Urgent Works Notice which will require the owner to pay for work to be carried out immediately.

Reduced permitted development rights – you will need planning permission in order to carry out some minor developments which do not normally require consent outside a conservation area.  This includes, for example, the insertion of new dormers, roof extensions and cladding. The size and locations of extensions are also subject to stricter controls. Satellite dishes on a building may require consent, depending on their size and location. Further clarification and advice can be obtained from our Planning team.

Restrictions on outdoor advertisements – certain categories of advertisement which have ‘deemed consent’ under the Advertisement Regulations are restricted within conservation areas.  If you looking to install an advertisement within a conservation area please contact our Planning team first.

Planning permission – when you submit a planning application for a building in a conservation area you should provide sufficient detail to enable us to assess the impact of the proposed development on the character of area. This includes details of scale, massing, design and materials of buildings and their relationship to existing buildings and the impact on their setting.  You must describe the significance of all assets affected by development, proportionate to the proposal. This should be done through Heritage Appraisals and Impact Assessments or as part of a Design and Access Statement.

New development in conservation areas – we apply conservation area legislation to ensure that change can take place but it will also both preserve and enhances the area.  We look very carefully at the design of new development and have policies which help us to carefully control changes.  If planning permission is required we will let people know by placing public notices on site and in the local press.

Repairs and maintenance – we encourage building owners to repair and maintain their properties without loss or damage to their character or integrity.  Repairs should be considered as the preferred option, with replacement only carried out where it would enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. Work should be of appropriate design, materials and construction methods to match the original.

Designation or alteration of conservation areas – consultation is an important part of the process to designate a conservation area.   Before we designate or alteration a conservation areas we will ask local people for their views.  We will let people know about newly designated or altered conservation areas by placing a public notice in the London Gazette, a local newspaper and by registering it in the Local Land Charges Register.

If you are in any doubt as to whether you require planning permission please contact our Planning team.

For more information for owners of properties in conservation areas, see the Historic England website

Contact us - Planning

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01235 422600
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

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South Oxfordshire District Council
135 Eastern Avenue
Milton Park
Milton
OX14 4SB